|Hawkwind Free Fest Interview, 1991
This interview previously appeared on the Golden Void website which has now closed. Thanks to
Frank Weil for forwarding it to me.
Dave (left) and
The Free Fest (FF) is the largest free outdoor music festival of its kind in the US. FF is an annual music
extravaganza featuring Rock, Psyche, Rap, Metal, Punk and Alternative and more in the Chicago
music-scape. We are working on getting the legendary Hawkwind from England to play this years FF (Aug.
9-11 '91) and is the main feature of our Spring '91 FF Journal.
How do you describe Hawkwind? It's something Elroy Jetson listens to on a road trip. Here is an amazing
interview with founders Dave Brock and Harvey Bainbridge. The ultimate space rock band has played with
the likes of Lemmy of Motorhead and Ginger Baker and have set precedents in punk, heavy metal and
alternative. Like the FF, they have had a hand in organizing free festivals in England, the most famous being
FF: This is the second time you guys have toured in the past year (last year at the AX). I don't know how
many times you've toured the US but how long has it been?
Dave: Maybe 1978. Before that we were here in the early 70's, 1973, 74, 75. We were playing in 10 -12,000
seat auditoriums and doing quite well actually. But we had a disagreement with our record label about
money. And uh, we sued them. Consequently, we got blacklisted. We did actually settle out of court, we got
the money, but we didn't fucking tour anywhere. You know, they didn't want us to play, they blacklisted us.
That's what happens in this business when you don't behave.
FF: I think that happened to Prince.
Dave: Yeah, it happens a lot and most people don't know it. All of a sudden last years publicity is gone.
FF: With the way music is today, what do you guys call your music?
Dave: You want our niche in the music encyclopedia? Look under Space Rock. (chuckles).
FF: And in this Space Rock what are your influences?
Harvey: The universe, man.
FF: The universe, wow.
Dave: We haven't got any influences. That's the one thing we don't have.
FF: No influences.
Dave: We learned to do it ourselves without getting into this bloody thing...not to be rude, but, we influence
other bands in England. If you hear examples of our early material, we got Acid House doing versions of our
FF: It's cool you guys are back into the touring thing. There was like this lull.
Harvey: No one does what we do (firing up a cigar-size joint).
FF: And the metal and punk scene is really hip to you guys. Other than live lipsynching what do you dislike
about the music industry?
Dave: The music industry is a very corrupt organization as we all know. People seem to forget it is the
musicians who play the music. They actually play. They are the artists, they had the idea, what's happened is
the other way around. They take a lot of the pie most of the time. You got PA companies, lighting
companies, there are guitar people, they all take money you know. I find that's what most musicians are
trotting around on. Except when you get in a position of power.
Harvey: That whole industry seems to be run by the image makers or what I call the "service industry" and
they control the atmosphere of what bands play in.
Dave: And the environment -"We're going to do this"- and pour tons of money into it. Get a big stage show
and sell a million records and the band don't get any after royalties, it's all been laid out.
FF: You guys just released an album. Is it on your own label?
Harvey: Well, what we've done in England, we've created the atmosphere where we are in control of our
own finances over the last few years and it means we've financed ourselves to come over here as opposed
to a record company.
Dave: It costs lots of money.
Harvey: And what we've done is work last year, and worked in England this year to provide the financial
backing to come back over here again. So we won't lose near as much as last year.
FF: How did you come up with the name Hawkwind?
Dave: Well, that's a mystical one. I never talk to anybody about that. Next question.
FF: Since the 70's you guys have been cranking out the albums right? What else did you do in the 80's?
Harvey: Touring the UK and Europe.
Dave: We don't play that much do we? Well, we do, but it's quite pleasurable to work to get enough money
to live and do nicer sorts of venues than this.
Harvey: Do the interesting shows.
Dave: Yeah, like the science fiction conventions and things like that over in England.
FF: What was your most memorable?
Dave: Blimey. There's been too many. Can't answer that one.
FF: Tell us about Stonehenge.
Dave: Well, Stonehenge, at the moment, is being looked after by the National Heritage Trust. Basically, there
will be no more festivals. Although there is talk of another festival, there's been lot's of confrontations with
the police over the years. They and the British government have spent 10 million pounds to stop the festival.
FF: Why? Because of politics?
Dave: There's just been this continuous battle to not allow it to go on.
FF: Well, they have Knebworth every year.
Dave: Yeah that's a paid festival, Stonehenge was free.
FF: Well that's what we have here and we've had some bullshit too.
Dave: You see the festival organization we're involved with, we got the stage, the generators, the toilet
facilities. All the people who travel around and do all different things so we can organize a festival where
20,000 people would show up. The authorities won't allow that.
FF: We had some problems with the city, but, now that we are established ourselves, its a lot easier.
Dave: In England, there's a huge population who just live out of their cars because you have the poll tax
Harvey: It's a personal tax instead of a property tax. The whole thing about politicians and free festivals is
they don't allow large amounts of people. They're vary wary of artists with big audiences. They know they
can influence part of the population. If you go back and look at the French Revolution, there were people
who kept a good eye on those well known writers and artists to make sure they didn't instigate social
upheaval. That's the main reason why they want to stop itinerant gatherings.
FF: Any favorite album?
Dave: "Live Chronicles" is a good album I thought it would be nice to have a double album with an open up
FF: Anything you would like to tell your fans?
Dave: Yes, well, we would love to come back to the US in March or April. I wouldn't mind living here. It's
a very beautiful country. There's lots of factories and pollution, it's still a nice place to live. If it could all stop
it would be fantastic.
FF: There seems to be a big interest in Hawkwind from heavy metal fans.
Harvey: It's hard rock as well.
Dave: And fluctuates with spacey things in it... Next year we'll bring our light show which no one else is